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United States to deport over 16,000 Nigerian students

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United States to deport over 16,000 Nigerian students

United States to deport over 16,000 Nigerian students

In the United States, the fate of more than 16,000 Nigerian students is currently hanging on the balance as the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to deport foreign students whose schools, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, will switch to online classes.

Nevertheless, the move has attracted the wrath of the Universities’ Academic Staff Union (ASUU), which blamed the Federal Government for neglecting Nigeria’s educational system.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), which is run by ICE, had said that foreign nationals enrolled in U.S. educational institutions will have to transfer to in-person schools or take online classes outside the country in a new rule released on Monday. They will otherwise be deported.

The State Department will also no longer grant visas for students to attend schools which only offer online classes.

In fact the statement reads:

“United State Department is no longer granting visas to students participating in schools or programs that are entirely online for the fall semester, nor will the United States Customs and Border Protection requires these students to enter the USA.

“Registered students currently in the U.S. who are participating in these programs must leave the country or take certain steps, such as moving to a school with in-person training in order to stay in lawful status. If not, they will have to face the repercussions of immigration.

ASUU President Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi in an interview with The Guardian recalled with regret “a time when foreign students were coming to Nigerian universities. Students came from South Africa, from Egypt and from Ghana.

According to him, “The opposite is the case today. There are over half of the international students in Ghana who are Nigerians. We can see, therefore, that they only exploit our money to finance their tertiary education. Why would Nigerians go to Benin, Cameroon, Togo and Sudan to pursue university education, not to talk about America?

The incessant strikes by ASUU are in the interests of students and their parents, he insisted, emphasizing that the whole union is saying: “Repair our laboratories, store our libraries, renovate our workshops, supply e-learning facilities and provide structures. Are not those things that they enjoy there?

The President of the ASUU explained further:

“Of course, those who send their children to those distant places in America and Europe are the ruling class which can afford it. The children of the poor are left to go to universities without services, to universities that are not properly equipped, and to universities whose research potential has been diminishing.

We believe this is an opportunity for the Federal Government to step back and address the issues in our university education and indeed the whole of Nigerian education.

Former education minister Prof. Chinwe Obaji also wondered how to teach online courses such as engineering and sciences requiring practicals.

He called on the government to make the universities attractive to Nigerian students abroad by resolving its many problems, adding that COVID-19 is a temporary setback that would be resolved in due course by all nations.

For his part, Imota, former Vice-Chancellor at Caleb University, Prof. Ayodeji Olukoju, said: “The truth is this situation is peculiar. This is beyond precedent. It is unacceptable.

We’ll overcome it in due course. We once conquered the Ebola pandemic in 1819, and we are sure to conquer COVID-19.

None of that is final. It’s true that online education will still continue, but the problems of face-to – face contact can never be taken away.

For example, will those students who study engineering at American universities and lab-based sciences do all of these things from afar?

He went on to add:

“We should change our curriculum to reflect the fact, mainly because we have to rely on online teaching more and more now. Secondly, we need to offer more online learning infrastructure, essentially ICT infrastructure.

“Thirdly, we need to train people who can manage the infrastructure and those who want to teach on the platform because you can’t teach in conventional classrooms on the platform as you do. This is not an ongoing situation but the world needs to adapt to it.

Most U.S. colleges and universities have not yet released their plans for the fall semester, but a number of schools are looking at an in-person and online hybrid model of learning, while others, including Harvard University, have said all classes will be taken online.

Actually Nigeria has the largest number of African students studying in the US. Under the U.S. As of 2019, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Nigeria had 16,039 graduates.

The agency reported:

“Sub-Saharan Africa has more than 36,000 students studying in the US. As of March 2019, Nigeria had 16,039 students studying in the United States with 54 per cent male and 46 per cent female students.

“This represents an increase of 3,342 students in November 2018 over 12,693 students recorded. 34 per cent of undergraduate students; 36 per cent of Masters students; 12 per cent of PhD students; while 12 per cent of associates were associates. Non-graders and others made up five per cent.

The report says the top five states in the U.S. for Nigerian students include Texas with 2,713; California with 856 students; Maryland with 827 students; New York with 818 students; and Florida with 753 students.

According to official statistics from the 2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange issued by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the United States, the more than 16,000 Nigerians currently studying in the United States contributed $514 million to the U.S. economy in 2018, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, State Department.

The report indicates that as of the 2018/2019 session Nigeria was the 11th leading place of origin in the United States for foreign students. It represents 1.2 per cent of the country’s total number of 1,095,299 international students.

A breakdown of the figure shows that 5,689 of Nigerian students were at the undergraduate level; 5,274 at graduate level; 367 were non-degree students; and 2,093 were on Optional Practical Training (OPT).

OPT is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students work on a student visa for one year in order to obtain practical training complementing their education.

Hossana C. Infozer, you can link up with me via social media platforms @officialinfozer.

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